Ever worry about your life? Ever wonder if you’re making the right decisions ? Schools, friends, churches? As mothers we get to worry about a plethora of decisions throughout the few short years we have our children.
I am a professional worrier. If there were an award for Most Worrisome Mother, I am sure that I’d win. My husband agrees with that. The last two years has been particularly worrisome for me. We’ve made some big life decisions and struggled with some medical issues within our family. Nothing major, but stressful none the less. And I have worried and fretted over them all.
It all started when we were deciding if we should have another baby. We had these two perfect boys, but our life was busy. Did we have the time and energy for one more? I was working full time at my boys’ school at the time. It was really a perfect gig. I was there during school hours, and home when my kids were home. We got a discount on the small Christian school’s tuition which helped financially afford it. We were living in a small home, but it was enough space for the 4 of us. We were driving a car that although it was a little old, it was paid for. Life was pretty good. But we knew we weren’t complete.
So we decided to try for another and we got pregnant quickly. I found out on Mother’s Day 2012 that we were pregnant with number 3. That was the last month of the school year so everything was falling nicely into place. That is until our 20 week ultrasound with Olivia.
At the ultrasound I noticed a black spot in her brain. My sonogram tech was a friend but she couldn’t say anything about it. Just a couple weeks before we were sitting in another sonogram room finding out that our third little bug would be a girl. Our hearts were overwhelmed with gratitude that we would get to complete our family with a little girl! Suddenly we were here, learning that something was wrong. I couldn’t talk to my doctor right away because he was in surgery so I left the office, promising not to worry.
I broke that promise. I went straight to my mother’s work. We cried and we prayed and we worried like mothers do.After a week of torture, we learned that our baby was going to be just fine. The cyst was superficial, in the spongy protective layer of her brain. It would dissipate in a matter of weeks, and we would never think of it again.
As the summer turned into fall, I began to worry about how we would pay for school. Private school tuition is expensive and now that we were going to have a baby I wouldn’t be able to work full time to help pay for it. And so I worried. For weeks I drove our poor pastor crazy, needing to know what our future would hold as far as my job was concerned. My pastor allowed me to be a substitute until the baby was born, I worked on short notice whenever they needed me and in return I was able to maintain a small discount on tuition, just enough so that we could afford it. God worked that out pretty well didn’t he.
We had to purchase a new car to have room for our little bug and taking on that payment knowing that I was soon not going to be working was terrifying to me. The thought of how we would afford a new car and a baby and private school… worry…
Once Olivia was born I felt God tugging at my heart to homeschool the kids. I’ve told you guys many times how much I worried about making that decision. I even waited a full year because I felt like I knew I couldn’t do it. Worry.
Towards the end of that last school year, Collin started having some issues medically. He had a constant cough. He went through every single test you can think of. He was allergic to zero. He was misdiagnosed as having asthma but the medicines for that didn’t help. It wasn’t until after he had a gasterologist preformed a scope on Collin that we found an answer. At least what we thought was the answer. The doctor found a patch of stomach tissue in the top of his esophagus. They told us that this little patch was creating acid all night long, Collin was aspirating that acid and that was the source of this horrendous cough that had plagued our lives for months. The plan was simple, Collin would take a daily acid reducer and be sure not to eat within 2 hours of bedtime. Easy enough. The cough was finally gone!
As school ended that year we started our homeschool journey. The extra money we were saving from taking our kids out of school paid for the car payment and then some. We were finally comfortable. For the first few months everything went amazingly. Then Collin’s cough started slipping back in, only this time it was preceded with a loud sniff, and sometimes followed by a barking throat clear. Back to the doctor we went… upping his medications each time we went. By the time we were done, Collin was taking double an adult dose of Prevacid every day. His stomach had begun to hurt so often that he had all but stopped eating. We would give him Pepto bismol before meals so that he would eat, and tums between meals in an effort to control the constant coughing. I was worried. In the middle of all this stuff, he had been hospitalized with a severe Campylobacter infection in his stomach and intestines. This child had a 105 fever and bloody diarrhea for days. The ER doc had told us that the meds he was on had killed all the good bacteria in his stomach to fight off this infection, therefore his case was much more severe.
Those of you who know me know I am already a germaphobe when it comes to stomach bugs. I am anxious wreck any time someone says their belly hurts. And now, I had a child who was more susceptible to stomach bugs! WORRY!!!!
Things crept along like that for more than a year. Collin was healthier our first year of homeschooling, mainly because he wasn’t in a school environment every day, exposed to lots of germs. However, being in that tiny home twenty four hours a day with three young kids was overwhelming. We had turned our dining room into a classroom and we were out of space. Everyone was on top of each other constantly. We knew we needed more space but the thought of listing and selling our home, and buying a new one was overwhelming, and it led me to WORRY.
Now, you know how you hear that when God moves he moves suddenly? Well let me tell you, he moved in such a way that we had no doubt whatsoever who had orchestrated the sale of our home. We listed our house the Wednesday after Thanksgiving in 2014. THE VERY NEXT DAY I got a call from one of my many cousins. We have a large extended family in this area. Anyway, she called and asked me if it was my house she was looking at online. She said that she and her kids had been looking for a home in our area for months. She had been making asking price offers and people were swooping in asking more and getting the houses she was trying for. She said she had given up. Her husband and her had gone through a divorce a couple of years ago, she and her two small kids were living, comfortably, with her parents but they were ready for a place of their own.
She came to look at the house that night. That was it. After a tearful meeting we knew that God had put this together for both of us. The only hiccup was where we would live while we were building our new home. She had an answer for that. We’d stay right where we were. She said that she and the kids had plenty of room and that she would let us stay in our home, no matter how long it took to build. We had come down on our price a bit to help her with what she was approved for, so she didn’t even charge us rent to stay.
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s God moving suddenly. That’s God answering prayers. That’s God asking me why I am worried. Oh ye of little faith.
The months trickled by as we were engulfed in the blessings that were before us. Although, I’m sure you know I found something to worry about, right…The house payment. No one could tell us what the house payment would be until we got closer to the actually closing date. That’s hard. We built a house that was twice the size of our old one in a beautiful neighborhood. Our home owners fees doubled. We didn’t know what to expect for utilities. I had plenty to worry about. Clearly, I thought that God had done all this to let us fail and not be able to afford our new home.
Oh ye of little faith.
As we moved through the process of building our home it became pretty clear that we were going to be paying about the same amount as we were in our old house. Even though I was pretty confident that our finances wouldn’t change much, I was still stressing over it. Then the week before closing came and we had hard figures. Our new home was going to have a mortgage payment that was more than $100 LESS than our old house! On top of that, because we were outside of the city limits our water bill went from $140 per month down to a measly $55! Even the electricity bill came in under budget, we had expected to be paying double since our new place has two air conditioners, but we have been paying about the same as the old place simply because of the energy efficient appliances and windows! God gave us double the house, for less money per month!
So back to Collin, slowly we found ourselves engulfed in acid reflux prevention. We were medicating him constantly, before meals, after meals, before bed… His life was a constant stomach or headache. We finally sought a second opinion with a new doctor and she wanted to do some additional tests that we just weren’t comfortable with.
I felt overwhelmed. I knew I didn’t want to put him under anesthesia again, so we decided to wean him off all the meds. Within 2 weeks he was off everything. And guess what? The cough went away for the most part. We now watch when it starts, we notice that it’s worse after eating pizza or spaghetti, so we avoid those foods. I’ve found a couple topical essential oils that seem to help. I’m now wondering if it’s more of a nervous tic than anything else. But it occurs to me that I spent more than a year worrying about this child and he’s fine. There is no major underlying condition. Does he have an inlet patch? Yes, but his new doc says that 99% of those are asymptomatic and she doesn’t believe his has anything to do with his little quirk. We medicated the daylights out of this child for more than a year and he absolutely didn’t need it. That’s what worry will lead you to do.
God tells me in the bible to “fear not” 365 times. Think that number is a coincidence? I don’t. When I worry about things that I cannot control I allow my joy to be stolen. God doesn’t give me fear or worry, He gives me the spirit of peace. We know where fear comes from right? Satan. I know that many people act like Satan is some mythical creature, made up to scare children into telling the truth but I am here to tell you that he is real.
1 Peter 5:8
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
That paints a pretty intimidating picture. Satan is walking around this Earth, trying to steal us away from God. He wants our minds, and the minds of our children. He wants our peace and our joy. We cannot rely on God and worry at the same time. It’s not possible. When Satan succeeds in causing us to be affraid and to worry, he has separated us from God, even if only temporarily. However, we have a loving God in Heaven who is there, ready to comfort us, if we turn to Him.
We have to hold our thoughts captive, constantly. We have to guard our hearts and our minds against fear and worry which can be next to impossible for me.
2 Corinthians 10:5
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
This verse isn’t just about guarding our thoughts against sin, it’s about guarding our minds against fear and worry as well.
2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
God did not give us fear. Fear is not an emotion. Joy, love, happiness… these are emotions. Fear is a spirit. It’s not from God. The spirit of fear works against faith to bring us worry. Fear is not a welcome guest in my homes any longer. When he creeps in I crank up my faith. I’ve seen God move in our lives so many times that I should never fall victim to fear, but of course I do at times. I do remind myself though, Be still, trust God. He’s not brought you this far to leave you stranded.